Sunday, May 10, 2009

Momma's American Dream

In honor of mothers everywhere on this Mother's Day, here is a poem I wrote many years ago about my mother.

When Daddy took his

12-yr old only daughter

to the racetrack

Momma's teardrops

soothed the creases

of the white dress shirts

she was pressing with a 10-lb

American Beauty iron

Daddy played the horses

moving dollar bills

from his left pocket

to his right pocket

to pari-mutuel window

Master of a System


guaranteed to be slow


buying just

a few more half-hours

from the humid hot kitchen where

he cooked pork fried rice

chicken subgum

egg foo young

9,390 days of his life

Daddy's winnings were like

the really good fortunes

found in the cookies that came with the bill

You could count on the bill to arrive

but you never counted on the good fortune

that would change your life

As we children grew up into away

and our refugee relations cut the umbilicals

so grew Daddy and Momma's good fortune

Dollars flowing from their 14-hr workdays

to their own account


Daddy bought Momma a big diamond ring

When she waited tables

diners would grab her hand


"You're no waitress"

and Momma would say

"I am owner of American dream"


Laurie Gudim and Rosean Amaral said...

Three cheers for your mom!! And thanks for sharing this.

C said...

When did you write it?


I don't have the date when I wrote it anymore on my computer. It may be stored elsewhere. My recollection is that the date was probably something like the last third of 1995. That was a period of a lot of poetry writing as I was dealing with my friend Jeanne's death from breast cancer.